Browns Embark on 75th Season with Look Back at Best Moments
Cleveland, Ohio. A city of rich history. And as the Browns prepare to embark on their 75th season in 2021, let’s take a look back at some of the history of the franchise, including historical moments and players who have found their way down I-71 into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
The list of moments begins on a cold and rainy December Sunday in 1982, and one of the more storied rivalries in the NFL adds another chapter at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. A league-wide strike-shortened that season to just nine games instead of the original 16, and the Browns were 2-4 as they welcomed Terry Bradshaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers to town. The Browns saw one of their defensive backs, Hanford Dixon, put up a breakout game with stats that would be remembered for a long time. Dixon recorded three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a sack as the Browns went on to win by a final count of 10-9.
At 74, in a game that saw 4 turnovers but 449 yards of offense for the Orange and Brown, one moment that will stick out the most against the intrastate rival Bengals in October of 2004 was a quick pass from Jeff Garcia to Andre’ Davis that went 99 yards to the house, as the Browns would double up Cincinnati 34-17.
Moving up the list a couple of spots to moment number 72, it was the last season the Browns won an NFL championship, as they beat up on the New York Giants in December of 1964 by a score of 52-20.
Continuing the ascension, the “Snow Game” of December 2007 was a memorable day for Browns fans. Before the 2020-21 campaign, 2007 was the last winning season for Cleveland. Blizzard-like conditions had swarmed Lake Erie, creating a mess around Browns (now FirstEnergy) Stadium. Kicker Phil Dawson was able to work his way through the whiteout and make two field goals which helped the Browns charge to an 8-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Charging up the list to number 15, the 1948 season would soon not be forgotten for Northeast Ohio sports fans. The Cleveland Indians won their first World Series championship in 28 years over the Boston Braves in a thrilling seven-game series, and the Browns would follow that up with an undefeated season of their own.
The top 10 moments in Cleveland Browns’ history will not be revealed until a television special airs on June 29 at 8 P.M. The list of 10 will be voted on by the fans of the organization.
With some of the memorable moments now recapped, let’s take a look at some of the famous players and coaches in Browns’ lore who are now in the Hall of Fame. Altogether, the Browns have 17 members in the Hall, good for sixth-best in the NFL, and seven other people who spent part of their playing career in the Orange and Brown.
Of course, the appropriate starting point of this Hall of Famers list would be the namesake of the organization, coach Paul Brown. Brown was credited as an innovator of the game, the first coach and co-founder of the franchise, and a champion.
Another famous name is running back Jim Brown, who is still involved with the team as a special adviser. Brown made the Pro Bowl each season during his nine-year career, and he still holds the Browns’ franchise record of 1,863 rushing yards in the 1963 season.
Five players who only spent a couple of seasons with the Browns, including names such as Len Dawson and Doug Atkins, and coaches Chuck Noll and Don Shula who also played for the Orange and Brown join the list of Cleveland Hall of Famers that involves Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Marion Motley, Ozzie Newsome, Paul Warfield, and Leroy Kelly, just to name a few.
Many a memory has been made within the Cleveland Browns franchise, and with 2021 marking the 75th season of the organization, more memories will soon be etched into the history books of football in Northeast Ohio.